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Wisconsin teen named 2023 youth rider of the year

Wisconsin teen named 2023 youth rider of the year

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – When you think of a 14-year-old athlete, you think of middle school competition, playing every sport under the sun, or even just learning how to play a specific sport, but for Neenah native Jack Brucks, he’s racing well beyond his years.

Ever since Brucks was given his first bike at a young age, one thing was clear: it would be tough to get him off of it.

“He’s always had a knack for things with two wheels,” said Katie Brucks, Jack’s mom. “I think he was probably two years old when we got him a (pedal bike) and he got on that thing and chased his brother around and he never had training wheels. He just wants to be on two wheels all the time.”

Fast forward 12 years later, and nothing has changed. Each day, Brucks is either practicing on the track in his backyard, or in competitions in other states.

“I appreciate his passion,” said Brucks’ mom. “I live my passion every day and not everybody gets to do that. I just appreciate that he knows what he loves, wants to go for it, and he lives, sleeps, eats and drinks by it.”

A relentless pursuit to ride day in and day out, which Jack credits to those who have rode alongside him his entire life.

“(I chose) number 13 because it was my dad’s number when he first started racing,” said Brucks. “(I learned) everything from him.”

“I don’t think I taught him everything,” said Luke Brucks, Jack’s dad. “I raced when I was younger at a track by our cabin when I was very little, and then I went to some (riding) schools (after we had kids) just to learn what to teach (them).”

Knowledge passed down to Katie and Luke’s youngest son, which ultimately paid dividends. Jack is a six-time district champion in the state of Wisconsin, a seven-time national champion, a one-time national youth rider of the year recipient, and a two-time AMA youth rider of the year award winner, including last year.

“Doesn’t get much better than that for a kid,” said Katie Brucks. “Those are the awards (you want to win) and he’s won them all multiple times.”

But even amidst all the winning, Brucks’ approach doesn’t change.

“I just think of it as practice for the next one,” said Jack.

A mature mindset that parallels his work ethic.

“Not a lot of kids get to take their passion and run with it, but he can and he’s doing it,” said Brucks’ mom. “He’s putting in the time, effort, energy, and the work.”

“He rides every day,” adds Jack’s dad, Luke. “He does his own track prep with the tractor, he waters it, drags it, and does it all on his own.”

Hard work on a daily basis with the intent of achieving a specific milestone: becoming a professional rider. Which starts by signing with a race team.

“It’s been his goal to make a race team because I’ve told this kid that I’m not funding your race career,” said Katie. “If you want to go pro and do this, you need to be good enough to make a team. The privilege of being on a race team is opportunity, help from a team mechanic, and they provide bikes, which is a huge cost.”

That goal was captured by Jack in March, as the 14-year-old signed as an amateur rider for 1st Impressions, a race team based out of Florida. With two years of competitions remaining before Brucks can qualify as a professional at the age of 16, the Wisconsin-born teen continues to live out a dream, while still chasing his lifelong goal.

“This is his dream job,” said Katie Brucks, Jack’s mom.

To follow along Jack’s journey, head over to Brucks Racing on Facebook as the Neenah native continues to conquer the racing world.

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